Cuchullains deny dogged Johnnies

Bathshack Senior Hurling Championship

Group A – Match 3

Dunloy 0-26 St John’s 0-21

Saturday 2 September

Brendan McTaggart reports from Pearse Park, Dunloy

A strong second half performance from the Cuchullians edged them clear of an improved St John’s side on Saturday afternoon.  The Corrigan Park side were four clear at the interval and well worthy of that lead given how they executed their game plan in the first half.  They set up with Ciaran Johnston as sweeper and bringing bodies back into the middle third to suffocate space for the home side to gain any momentum while Michail Dudley, Aaron Bradley and Conor Johnston were hugely influential in an opening 30 minutes that Dunloy just couldn’t get going.

It was going to take something special to turn the tide, they found it in the form of Keelan Molloy.  A half time substitute, Molloy was irresistible when introduced and had three points on the board inside five minutes as Dunloy reeled the Johnnies lead in.

The Corrigan Park men dug deep however and with Aaron Bradley taking over the free taking duties, kept in touch with the Cuchullains but the home side found another gear with Keelan Molloy, Nigel Elliott and Seaan Elliott finding their range while defensively they snuffed out the threat the Johnnies posed.

The game got off to a slow start with St John’s defender Aidan McMahon forced off with a knee injury.  The Johnnies were looking sharp all over the pitch and had a three point inside the opening 10 minutes.  Dudley’s ability to take scores from distance telling while Ciaran Johnston’s quick thinking from placed ball keeping the Cuchullains on their toes.

Dunloy were back on terms with Eoin McFerran, Chrissy McMahon and Conal Cunning (free) splitting the uprights.

Three points unanswered from Conor Johnston (two) and Conal Bohill kept St John’s in control and playing the more effective hurling.  Dunloy were struggling for rhythm and accuracy in the forward line but McMahon was always a threat.  He landed his second of the game with a brace of points from Coby (one free) came either side of an Oisin MacManus free to leave St John’s two ahead with ten minutes of the first half remaining.

Dunloy’s failure to find the target was starting to hurt their challenge with Aaron Bradley imperious.  Three scores in as many minutes from the Johnnies sharp shooter was briefly interrupted by Seaan Elliott’s second point of the game. 

The Johnnies were in their purple patch however with MacManus (free), Conor Johnston and Dudley taking their lead to six as the game ticked into first half injury time.  Dunloy responded with scores from Deaglan Smith and McMahon’s third of the half to leave St John’s ahead 0-14 to 0-10 at the short whistle.

The City men were well worth their lead at the interval but it was short lived after the introduction of Keelan Molloy.  Ronan Molloy got the scoreboard ticking again for the home side with the first of the half before three points in two minutes from Keelan brought the sides level.  A free from Coby and Seaan Elliott’s third of the game, a huge strike from distance took Dunloy two clear after just six second half minutes.

St John’s responded with Oisin Donnelly and while Keelan Molloy responded, St John’s dug deep to stay on the coat tails of the Cuchullains.  Bradley (free), Conor Johnston and Danaan McKeough taking them one clear.

Dunloy were finding more space around the middle third and willing to take their shots from distance but their accuracy was lacking throughout the half.  A tally of 19 wides in total, nine in the second half gave the Johnnies further energy in a game where they never needed a second invitation.  St John’s had the sniff of victory but the Cuchullains defence were imperious in the closing stages.

The Dunloy forwards were beginning to find space more freely but a run of four wides while one clear allowed St Johns to remain in touch.  A brace of frees from Bradley took the Johnnies one clear with five minutes to go but that was their last score of the half.  Dunloy dominated in the closing stages with substitute Nigel and Seaan Elliott firing over before McFerran split the uprights from distance to take Dunloy three clear for the first time in the game as the clock ticked into injury time.

Nigel Elliott fired over before Dunloy had their only sniff of a goal.  Conal Cunning rounding his player and through on goal before being dragged down by Ciaran Johnston.  The epitome of taking one for the team while on a yellow card, Johnston’s game was ended with referee Colm McDonald giving another yellow and red to the St John’s man.

Coby Cunning converted the resulting free with the last action of the game to give the Cuchullains a five point win.

Dunloy will have a four week break before the semi-finals while St John’s will have one eye on the matches being played tomorrow to see who they play in the quarter-finals.


Dunloy: Ryan Elliott; Phelim Duffin, Conor McKinley, Conor Kinsella; Eamon Smyth, Kevin Molloy, Eoin McFerran; Paul Shiels, Ciaran Elliott; Ronan Molloy, Deaglan Smith, Seaan Elliott; Eoin O’Neill, Conal Cunning, Chrissy McMahon

Subs: Keelan Molloy for E O’Neill (HT); Nigel Elliott for R Molloy (44); Nicky McKeague for D Smith (55); Tom McFerran for C Elliott (55); Oran Quinn for C Kinsella (57)

Scorers: C Cunning 0-6 (4fs); Keelan Molloy 0-5; S Elliott 0-4; C McMahon 0-4; N Elliott 0-3; E McFerran 0-2; R Molloy 0-1; D Smith 0-1

St John’s: Simon Doherty; Matthew McCartin, Jack Bohill, Aidan McMahon; Conall Morgan, Ciaran Johnston, Sean Wilson; Conor Johnston, Michail Dudley; Danaan McKeogh, Conal Bohill, Ryan McNulty; Aaron Bradley, Oisin Donnelly, Oisin MacManus

Subs: Daragh McGuinness for A McMahon (3); Ruairi Galbraith for O MacManus (37); Ciaran McKenna for O Donnelly (57)

Scorers: A Bradley 0-6 (3fs); O MacManus 0-4 (3fs 1’65); Conor Johnston 0-4; M Dudley 0-3

C Bohill 0-2; D McKeough 0-1; O Donnelly 0-1

Referee: Colm McDonald (St Galls)

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